UPSC Answer Writing – Daily Answer Writing Practice for UPSC Mains 2023

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

UPSC Answer Writing: One of the key aspects of the preparation for the UPSC Mains exam is to practice answer writing skills properly. It is crucial not just to write lengthy answers but to cover a wide perspective of the given statement, including the latest news about it, facts, policies, and the thematic presentation of the answer. Some important tips for UPSC Mains answer writing are to use appropriate headers and bullet points, flow charts, and diagrams wherever needed, start with a good introduction, and end with an unbiased conclusion showing the way forward. For daily answer writing practice for UPSC 2023, we have provided the list of practice questions for UPSC answer writing below.

One must critically examine UPSC Mains answer writing to ace the second stage of the Civil Services exam. This exam consists of nine descriptive papers to get a call for the Interview. This article on UPSC answer writing will highlight the need for writing the best answers in the exam, tips to prepare, practice questions, and how to improve the Mains answer writing skills.

UPSC Answer Writing

In this post, we have provided all information on the UPSC Answer Writing for the Mains exam. The UPSC Mains is the most crucial part of the preparation journey as the marks obtained in the Mains exam impact your overall rank in the IAS Exam. The Mains exam consists of 9 papers, including the two qualifying language papers, one essay paper, four GS papers, and two papers on the optional subject. The total of these papers is 1750 marks.

Having said that, a candidate needs to be in line with the practice of UPSC Mains Answer Writing. There is not much to think about and write during the Mains exam. A candidate is expected to write an answer to the question in 7 minutes.

If we see the UPSC Previous Year Question Papers, we get a fair idea about the types of questions that are asked in the Mains exam. The major UPSC answer writing questions asked in the Mains exam include these specific keywords:

  • Comment
  • Discuss
  • Evaluate/ Critically Evaluate
  • Elucidate
  • Critically Examine

Let us discuss about each in detail in the sections below.

Critically Comment

One of the most prevalent commands in the UPSC Mains Answer Writing is Critically Comment. A statement that offers an opinion or response is referred to as a comment. It’s crucial to identify the key ideas or arguments and then express one’s perspective based on the knowledge or justifications gained from the reading. Take a neutral stance and put down facts and opinions.

As was previously noted, the phrase Critically Comment implies fair judgment. Thus, both the advantages and disadvantages are considered in UPSC answer writing. The view presented may lean anyway, but the appropriate data must support it.

Discuss Critically

Possibly the trickiest instruction in UPSC answer writing with a light tone is to Discuss Critically. The arguments for and against a position are supported by evidence, leading to a decision. Simply put, an examiner anticipates that you will offer a logical argument and explain many points of view.

An examiner would anticipate the candidate to present their point of view concerning questions that ask a candidate to Discuss Critically. These questions in UPSC answer writing are broad in scope. Additionally, this instruction calls on one to address the concept’s critics’ arguments.

Critically Evaluate

In UPSC Answer Writing, to evaluate is to make a judgment based on thoroughly considering the benefits and drawbacks supported by facts. When the examiner demands a fair assessment, Critically is applied. To critically evaluate a statement, a person must be able to use their sense of logic, offer evidence to both support and refute the assertion, and come to a final judgment.

One of the most frequent errors in UPSC answer writing is that most applicants only provide fragments of the supporting information, leaving the response unfinished and allowing the examiner to give it a partial mark.

UPSC Answer Writing: Elucidate

To elucidate in UPSC answer writing is to explain thoroughly or to make it clear. An examiner provides us with a cause-and-effect relationship when they apply this command. In UPSC Mains answer writing, a candidate must make the relationship more evident by giving proof and examples.

Critically Examine

Critically Examine in the answer writing UPSC is to delve deeper into it and fully comprehend it. Here, a candidate is supposed to conduct research and compile information on the pertinent facts and problems. You go deeper into Examine than Comment and delve more deeply into Analyze than Critically Examine.

Critically Examine highlights the advantages and disadvantages of a topic, requiring the aspirant to weigh both viewpoints before drawing a fair judgement in UPSC Mains answer writing.

How to Improve UPSC Mains Answer Writing?

The best way to enhance the skill for UPSC Mains Answer Writing is to focus on the following points:

  • Read as Much as Possible: Reading is one of the best habits a UPSC aspirant can inculcate. Reading more from newspapers and magazines familiarizes the aspirant with good vocabulary and writing styles. This is well reflected in the UPSC answer writing.
  • Follow a Dedicated Approach: UPSC Mains answer writing should always focus on three pillars- an introduction, body, and conclusion.
  • Write in a Simple, Lucid Style: Avoid using fancy jargon, use of unnecessarily technical words, and clichés. Always keep in mind that the examiner is more knowledgeable, so there is no way you can fool him with an unnecessary stuffing of words. It’s always advised to maintain quality over quantity.
  • Be Original and Avoid Generalizations: It is advised that while writing UPSC Mains answers, substantiate your answers with valid proofs and stats. Generalizations should always be avoided, as it never gives out a good impression
  • Always Practice: A serious aspirant should never miss out on daily UPSC answer writing practice. Even if one does not feel like writing a full-fledged answer, try writing just the keywords for the answers. According to scientific studies, it is proven that writing helps us in retaining knowledge in a much better way.
  • Avoid Unnecessary Information: Whenever attempting any UPSC Mains answer writing, always focus on keywords asked in the question. Unnecessary information leads to an increase in the word limit, resulting in missing out on vital points. Whenever practicing at home, keep updating the answers with relevant updates. This can be done by reading Current Affairs daily and watching daily Current Affairs Videos to analyze any topic critically.
  • Always Practice the UPSC Answer Writing Booklet: It is suggested that while practicing UPSC Daily Answer Writing, try answers on the Commission’s sample answer booklet. It helps get a better idea of the page, word limit, and style of writing the answer.

Daily Answer Writing Practice for UPSC 2023

The Mains stage of the UPSC exam is the most challenging since it requires accurately producing the answers in a limited period. Before starting with the UPSC Answer Writing, a candidate must be well versed with the UPSC Mains Syllabus. Reading editorials and commentaries and watching analysis videos helps write a multi-dimensional answer, which is very important from the UPSC answer writing point of view.

Topics for Answer Writing Practice for IAS Mains

You can learn to practice 2 UPSC answer writing daily, one from GS Syllabus and another from Optional Subjects for UPSC. One of the best practice questions is from the previous year’s papers. Download UPSC 2020 mains question paper and UPSC mains 2021 question paper to get started with UPSC answer writing.

Practice Questions:

Q1. What were the historical underpinnings of the Indian Constitution and how did they influence its evolution? (150 words)

Q2. Discuss the role of women in Indian society and politics. (150 words)

Q3. Natural disasters such as floods, cyclones, and earthquakes are becoming increasingly frequent and severe in India. In this context, discuss the challenges faced by the country in managing such disasters. (250 words)

Q4. What measures have been taken by the Indian government to promote transparency and reduce corruption? (250 words)

7-5-3 Rule of UPSC Answer Writing

Following the 7-5-3 rule is what most aspirants follow during the UPSC Exam. The two basic and essential features that decide the level of the UPSC Mains answer writing are understanding the question and adhering to the word limit.

The 7-5-3 Rule of UPSC Answer Writing are:

  • 7: Candidates should try to answer within 7 minutes each of the questions asked.
  • 5: Each answer should be written in 5 points related to the keyword. These 5 pointers could later be broken into sub-bullet points.
  • 3: Each answer of the UPSC Mains should focus on 3 dimensions – Social, Economic, Political and Geographical perspectives; For, against, and conclusion & What/Why/How aspects.

Tips to Crack the Art of UPSC Answer Writing

Suppose one has repeatedly practiced the Previous Year’s Questions and understood the UPSC Exam Pattern. Then, UPSC answer writing and understanding the demand of the question asked is just a cakewalk.

Candidates should also refer to the UPSC Syllabus from time to time. The key to writing a good answer in UPSC Mains answer writing are as follows:

  • Write in simple language.
  • Have a proper introduction and relevance to the topic.
  • Try writing in bullets, incorporating mind maps and flowcharts.
  • Try relating the answer to current scenarios or Current Affairs. Include Government policies, data, and initiatives in the answer writing UPSC.
  • Attempt all questions asked, even if you have a vague idea about any topic asked.
  • Conclude your answer in a way that summarizes your answer well.

UPSC Answer Writing Practice Sheet

Applicants can use an A4 sheet as the UPSC answer writing practice sheet. The official answer sheet consists of margins on both the left and right of the paper. So to ensure that you are practicing UPSC answer writing as per exam guidelines, make margins on the A4 sheet.

Subject-wise UPSC Answer Writing Strategy

The candidate must be in the habit of writing answers according to the demand of the question in the stipulated time. The UPSC Mains Answer Writing helps increase the candidates’ writing speed and accustoms the brain to think quickly.

To segregate tips according to the four GS papers of the Mains, we have compiled a comprehensive list of how the UPSC answer writing should be done. Follow these paper-specific UPSC answer writing strategies to score well:

General Studies Paper 1:

The UPSC answer writing tips and strategies for General Studies Paper 1 is as follows:

  • Indian and World History, Indian Heritage and Culture: Answer to the point, including dates and timeline according to the demand of the question.
  • Geography of the World and Society: Add flow charts, diagrams, maps, etc. It can also state data from Government websites.

General Studies Paper 2:

The following are some UPSC answer writing tips and strategies for General Studies Paper 2:

  • Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice: Add SC verdicts, cite articles, relevant quotes from personalities and newspapers, new policies and schemes, and national and global survey reports and findings.
  • International Relations: Recent developments, international relationships, highlighted terms featured in newspapers, maps if needed.

General Studies Paper 3:

The UPSC Mains answer writing tips and strategies for General Studies Paper 3 is as follows:

  • Economic Development: Recent statistics and figures highlighted by Economic Survey, use phrases from the Economic Survey, Global rankings, reports and findings, and Schemes and policies.
  • Technology: Innovation, the way forward, add multi dimensions perspective, and draw figures if possible.
  • Bio-diversity, Environment: Relate it with recent happenings wherever needed, Environment reports and rankings, Flowcharts, and diagrams.
  • Security and Disaster Management: Include recent and highlighted issues and case studies.

General Studies Paper 4:

The following are the UPSC answer writing tips and strategies for General Studies Paper 4:

Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude: Be thorough with keywords in the syllabus, cite logical solutions and draft, and quote wherever needed. As examples, give case studies or day-to-day examples.

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